Dismore: Affordable housing crisis leaves 4,000 Barnet children homeless at Christmas
Nearly 4,000 homeless children in Barnet will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation – an increase of a third in just three years.
The official statistics were highlighted by Barnet and Camden London Assembly member Andrew Dismore, who commented:
“Ordinary families have been priced out of Barnet and the taxpayer is picking up the bill for the misery they are being caused. Over the last three years the number of children without a home to call their own at Christmas has climbed from just under 3,000 to nearly 4,000.
“Behind the statistics there are thousands of desperately sad personal stories for families who have been evicted or become homeless in Barnet for other reasons and have been forced to ask the council for emergency help.
“This is the shocking result of Conservative housing policy which has completely failed ordinary families. Social housing is being demolished, private rent is more expensive than ever and the average price of properties sold in Barnet last year went above £500,000 for the first time.”
Barnet’s latest homelessness figures* were published by the Government last week (Thursday 18 December) from data supplied by Barnet Homes, the council-owned social landlord. They show the number of homeless households the council has a legal responsibility to provide housing for, often because they include children or vulnerable adults.
The totals show that at Christmas 2012 in Barnet there were 2,336 homeless households including 2,993 children; rising to 2,403 households and 3,065 children at Christmas 2013; 2,468 households and 3,227 children at Christmas 2014; and 2,846 households and 3,968 children on the latest figures
The most recent Performance Report for Barnet Homes shows that homeless households spend more than a year in emergency temporary accommodation.
Barnet Labour housing spokesperson Cllr Ross Houston pointed out that of the 28,000 new homes Barnet is forecasting for the borough by 2025, only 9 per cent will be affordable on current plans.
Cllr Houston said:
“The target laid down by the Mayor of London is that 40 per cent of new housing in Barnet should be affordable and the council is nowhere near achieving this.”
“Despite commendable efforts by Barnet Homes to avoid the use of bed and breakfast accommodation, homelessness is rising relentlessly and it can only be the trend can only be reversed by improving the supply of affordable housing.”
*The full tables for statutory homelessness by local authority are here:
Barnet Homes’ most recent Performance Report is here: